WINCHESTER City Council has been thrown into turmoil by the defection of two Conservatives to the opposition.

Councillors Jamie Scott and Derek Green, who represent the Stanmore area, have both joined the Liberal Democrats.

The move means that both main parties now have 27 seats with two for Labour and one independent. The council is now with no overall control.

Keith Wood, council leader, said today: “I am disappointed. I am not sure why they have gone. I know Cllr Scott was unhappy for some time because he wanted to seek promotion within the Conservative group.”

Cllr Wood said he intended to carry on as leader. “I said I would do it to the end of this year. To get rid of me there would have to be a vote at Council.”

Cllr Derek Green said: “We’ve have resigned because we are not happy. I would rather not go into it at the moment.”

Cllr Scott was unavailable for comment.

Cllr Chris Pines said: "We don't believe there is a discernible difference between the Tory and Liberal Democrat groups. Both support the present government coalition. We continue to support a council which promotes and implements social justice for all groups in society.

"We differ from them in supporting social rents, promoting the living wage concept, new build based on social rents and creating more apprenticeships for young people."